Obama Right On Syria

Might does not make right, but right needs might.

My frienemies at the New York Times thought smart to pose as superior moral characters with two front pages editorials today on Syria, both entitled “Wrong On Syria”. They lambasted president Obama for doing what I told him to do (at last someone who listens to me!). What did I tell him to do? Bomb (the bad guys in) Syria. First I wanted to do in Assad the Plutocrat, but I admit that the Caliphate is an even juicier objective.

Once upon a time a Frankish-Mongol army entered Damascus (that was not long after the same characters, with Armenian and Georgian help, had destroyed the Caliphate in Baghdad). History does not just repeat itself, its very rich.

Civilization has to be defended. Obama has understood this. Annual spending, in constant dollars, by the Department of Energy and the Atomic Energy Commission on nuclear weapons research, development, testing and production:

Morality & Justice Without Force Are Not To Be

Morality & Justice Without Force Are Not To Be

[It’s all right that you be wrong, as long as I can flatten you.]

One does not want to make the Roman mistake of edifying what came to known as the “Limes”… The limit of the empire, a succession of walls, forts, garrisons, and legions, all around the Empire. Thus, when the bad guys broke through the limes, there was nothing to stop them: the interior of the Empire was essentially defenseless. Very rich, and very defenseless. When the Goths rampaged through Roman Asia, the Balkans, and Greece, in the middle of the Third Century, it took years to send a Roman army after them (they immediately fled).

On December 31, 406 CE, the Rhine froze so thoroughly and suddenly, that entire German nations galloped across. Among them, the Vandals. By then, thanks to an austerity program, the Roman army was actually the Frankish army. The Franks, who had beaten the Germans several times in years prior, in Bavaria, were taken by complete surprise, thanks to this freak weather event. After a torrent of German nations (reminiscent of the “torrent of German tanks” of May 1940) pierced through the Alsatian plain, there was nothing to stop them. The Vandals charged through Gaul, and then Spain. They soon invaded rich and completely defenseless Africa, which had known peace, the famed Pax Romana, for 5 centuries.

Italy, and Rome, never recovered from this.

History exists, to inform us. Syria and Mesopotamia used to be part of the Roman empire, so Obama can argue we are back home.

Even earlier in history, recent, 2014 genetic studies show that Mesopotamian, Fertile Crescent farming came to Europe under the form of the farmers who knew how to do it. This result was obtained by genetic analysis of Greeks… who are therefore, at least, partly, Iraqis.

So the West ought to relax: the Middle Earth is where it’s coming from. Russia is eleven time zones across, but Mesopotamia is just a time zone away from Paris and London. It’s the suburbs. Time to take care of them, by subjugating the awful systems of ideas that festered there (without naming it, of course, some of the critique of Obama at the UN could be viewed as pointed straight towards the Qur’an, which contains therein an evil system of thought, in no way less Satanic than the one in the Bible, as the Cathars no doubt noticed).

The New York Times editorials stupidly argued that Obama and Hollande had no right to bomb Iraq, and needed a UN Security Council authorization. That’s doubly dumb: first, common sense, human rights, the teaching of history, can override the UNSC. Although India just successfully sent a probe to Mars, the UN, and is predecessor, the SDN, were fundamentally French ideas which were finally implemented by the USA in 1944 (San Francisco, Bretton Woods).

Secondly, of course, Iraq is a sovereign nation. So if the legitimate government of Iraq wants France and the USA to bomb the bad guys on its territory, that is its sovereign prerogative. And that’s exactly what happened.

OK, the situation is extremely messy: there are bad guys all over. But that does not mean goodness ought to sit on its hands. That was the mistake made in 1936, when the rogue African army of general Franco attacked the Spanish Republic. France announced loudly she would intervene, and then backed-off, while the Nazis and Italian fascists got emboldened. In the end, Franco and his professional killers assassinated millions of Spaniards, and the Nazis and fascists got trained in all sorts of ways. Meanwhile, the Western democracies got used to the idea that it was better to do nothing.

This time, the show of force is a lesson to the world. Obama said at the UN that force was the only language the killers understood. Yes, right. And one of these killers is Putin. The Kremlin dictator stands warned: if he wants war too much, he will get it.

Using extreme violence is not the best outcome for superior morality, but it is sometimes the one and only optimal outcome, as far as civilization is concerned. This is such a case. The New York Times can pose all it wants, it’s as wrong as it was in 2003, justifying the invasion of Iraq.

Patrice Ayme’

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22 Responses to “Obama Right On Syria”

  1. ianmillerblog Says:

    My main concern here is, suppose you turn Syria into rubble, then what? You cannot control an enemy without infantry on the ground.

    As for Rome, we can see its problem: it didn’t burn enough coal and get global warming going fast enough!

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Well, no, just turn a few places where the Jihadists are, in rubble. For example in Rakka. They have underground shelters they use as Internet centers. I am not for Internet censorship, except in cases like that, where I prefer outright incinerations. Many of these people deserve to go the way of the SS (to whom they are similar in much of their ideology, actually).

      There is infantry. First advisers have been on the ground. The French, in particular, taught the Peshmerga how to use some sort of giant machine guns with armor piercing rounds, which the Kurds found very effective.

      There is also an Iraqi army. The NE corner of Syria is Kurd, though. I would be all for having the Kurdish army control that, as my plan is to make Kurdistan independent.(That would help solve the Turkish dictatorship tendencies.)

      Interestingly, both Erdogan, and… Putin! are considering joining. In other words, they are humbly submitting, paying their homages. This is not a secondary aim, but the primary one.
      PA

      • ianmillerblog Says:

        Yes, there are advisors, and I suppose they are better than nothing, but the problem is when the two conflicting infantries try to move on ISIS. The Iraqis may not be ready to give up the Kurdish areas, Turkey may object, the whole area is a mess. Putin helping? Horrors, you may have to change your mind about him??

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          As I said, Putin helping is a submission for all to see: he is basically saying USA/France/NATO are right, right in Syria, Iraq… Thus right in Ukraine. He is trapped: he has to join, if he wants to keep an element of control. His volition and good nature has nothing to do with it. He is a devil, pulled by the tail.

          I think the bombing has been devastating, so was the “advising” (of the Kurds).

          The fact France, the USA and UK… and even Germany (which gave “Panzerfaust”) are helping militarily the Kurds is an implicit recognition of their quasi-independence.

          What’s more interesting is that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, are playing a double game. At this point the idea is not to create the independent Kurdistan, but to demolish Daech enough so that it won’t be a threat.

          • ianmillerblog Says:

            “Thus” does not follow in logic. More likely, Putin knows that ISIS is really bad news for Russia as well. I bet he has no feelings that NATO are right in Ukraine, after all, all they want is to further their plutocracy there, of which, if I recall correctly, you do not approve 🙂

  2. Patrice Ayme Says:

    [Sent to NYT, September 24]

    Obama is right on Syria, Iraq, Ukraine…
    Might does not make right, but right needs might.
    https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/obama-right-on-syria/

  3. dominique deux Says:

    Well, it IS a change of heart, since you admit that Assad is the lesser of two evils.

    There is not much to like about him or his regime – contrary to Saddam Hussein’s, it is only mock-secular, with the Alawite sect in power. But it does ensure minority protection, which is why Syrian Christians support him. They never trusted the so-called democratic opposition’s secular agenda, and who can fault them now.

    And it could be argued that his atrocities against his own people, barbaric as they were, merely followed in the footsteps of his father’s, with rather more restraint. Hafez el Assad destroyed the hotbed of armed and militant fundamentalism that was Hama, with extreme prejudice, putting the Muslim Brotherhood out of the game for decades, until the imbecile Iraq-Afghanistan war gave new life to Jihad recruitment. The international community carefully looked away. Then it went in double standard mode and lambasted Bachar as he (slowly, at first) faced his own Islamic outbreak. He must have been flabbergasted.

    I am sorry that, for legalistic reasons, France – the US’ only major ally on the field – has declined to target Daesh in Syria. Yet France is no stranger to economy with the truth, when advisable. See how it keeps saying it will have no boots on the sand, despite evidence to the contrary. “Hot pursuit” is a convenient and well accepted way around this self-restraint.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Dominique: I did not really change my heart: I still believe Assad to be worse than Milankovitch, and that he should be put away for the rest of his life, and his (enormous and extremely influential) family ought to be put in the slammer and be expropriated. I was always for arming his secular opposition.
      Actually Assad to a great extent created and nurtured Daech/ISIS/ISIL/Caliphate. So did Saudi Arabia (the source of much evil in the region). Assad released thousands of them from jails, knowing they would taint his opposition with their craze, as happened. He also bought oil from them.

      At this point, though, the situation on the ground demanded a military intervention: both Baghdad and Kurdistan were obviously going to fall, and Iran to intervene.

      Assad Senior killed 20,000 at Hama. His son caused the death of 200,000 (because the civil war would not have happened if he had taken a plane to SA, as the Tunisian dictator did).

      The most important fact on the ground is (“Iraqi”) Kurdistan. France is obviously in charge of defending that, complete with plenty of experienced boots on the ground. That’s crucial, and fine. A problem in Syria is that there is lots of crazed French Jihadists women there and Hollande may have preferred that Obama give them the Joan of Arc treatment.

  4. Patrice Ayme Says:

    @ Ian: Ukraine is full of plutocrats, corruption, etc. Same as Russia. And it’s disorderly, differently from the West, where the appearance of vague contentment keeps the Plutos from fighting each other. There have been anti-Putin demonstration in Russia in the last week. The largest, in Moscow, with around 30,000 people was legal.

    If Putin joins in Syria, he is paying homage to civilization’s brute force. That’s why Obama was right to condemn Putin’s ways in Ukraine, while justifying, in the same discourseS, the West’s intervention in the Middle East. I have made that point for years.

    What was important was to intervene. First bomb, then sort it out. None of this 1936 stuff, trying to determine right from wrong in all ways, first. Why? Can’t be done. Except by being on the ground first… Or at least one’s bombs on the ground.

  5. Jonathan Blees Says:

    Jonathan Blees
    Sacramento, California
    “Networks of Death” will not be eradicated by more death. They will cease arising only when the entire world is a Network of Peace.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      [Preceding comment, from this Jonathan, was published in New York Times, contradicting me directly and nominally. An elaborated answer was written, but I did not keep a copy, and the New York Times censored it (so I lost my answer). It was about how Nazism was defeated, and was purely technical, about bombing effectiveness. Why does NYT censors stuff like that is a mystery, explainable only with a mix of arrogance and crass ignorance, on their part. This is one of the problems with censorship: it can be self-defeating.]

  6. Alan Sabrosky Says:

    Alan Sabrosky
    New Castle, PA
    Perhaps, but the US acts as if might makes right. Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, and got it shoved down its throat. The US invaded Panama about the same time for even less justifiable reasons, and got away with it simply because it was strong and no one else had the power to stop it. “Right” had nothing to do with it, and about the only time Obama OR his predecessor have been “right” is when they got out of bed on the right side.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      It’s more complicated than that. Although I was (!) for the annexation of Kuwait (always part of Mesopotamia), the USA did not annex Panama. I was against the assault against Iraq (1990-2003), yet, this ISIL invasion is completely different, and has to be fought, as Nazism was in 1936.

  7. dominique deux Says:

    You are right of course about the fertilization of the West, as we know it, from the Middle East. I seem to recall that several Roman emperors were actually of Arabic (Syrian) descent. And of course Europe was named for a Phoenician princess.

    There were less felicitous imports, essentially the so-called Religions of the Book, which – despite stated good intentions – were quite disruptive to the Roman Empire and its successors.

    I find it interesting that these religions originated with nomadic cattle herders, as opposed to the agricultural and industrial technologies which were born in settled lands and cities.

    The perennial divide between farmer and cattle herder is illustrated by the Abel-Cain tale, where, unsurprisingly, the farmer, Cain, is depicted with lethal contempt. It is not a long dead issue. Much (not all) of the recent bloodbaths in Africa, in Rwanda, Darfur or Mali, can be traced back to it. Nomads, for all their genuine romantic appeal, are much more given to harshly enforced patriarchy, staunch conservatism and an infinite appetite for Lebensraum (they also share a rich poetic streak). Low-key conflict with farmers is rampant, even absent civil strife, and the replacement of swords with Kalashnikovs did not improve the mutual mood. In West Africa, Hausa and Fulani always were the active harbingers of militant Islam. And any similarity between animal husbandry and the treatment of women and offspring in the Religions of the Book is far from coincidental.

    So, even though the idea of a limes is a bad one as you point out, keeping an keen eye on our exchanges with Mesopotamia and its successors is always a good idea.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Agreed to all, 100%. I am having presently a heated exchange with an academic philosopher from New York about… Aristotle. The triumvirs: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle made the bed work for the Mithras cult (which was modified into a Jewish variant known as Christianity). But, before that, they made the bed work for plutocracy.

      That’s unsurprising: Socrates was a prostitute to the wealthy and gilded, Plato was the wealthy and gilded, and Aristotle was a carpet, boyfriend, teacher, accomplice to Philippe and Alexander, among the most famous cruel plutocrats in history.

      • dominique deux Says:

        With due respect since you’ve devoted much thought to the subject, I would suggest that what the “troïka” did was create a ready-made, self-consistent, non-materialistic “theory of everything”.
        That theory was just another one, in competition with materialistic systems which had more appeal for the pragmatic yet highly ethical Romans.
        What happened IMHO is that the early Christian hierarchy, made up of well trained scholars and in dire need of intellectual respectability for their collection of well-meaning Christmas tales, HIJACKED the troïka’s work, making it central to the dogma under development, and went so far as to declare its members “Christians before the name”. This was a common ploy; see how they annexed Apollonios of Tyane too.
        I am not sure if Mithra’s cult had any relationship with the three, but of course knowledge of their work was widespread in the Hellenistic and Roman world. Ditto for the Hebraic cult; the high rabbinical hierarchy must have been familiar with them. But the wholesale annexation of Socrato-Platonicism was really unique to Christianity.
        This was not a seamless process. For example, you’d be hard put to find any substantial mention of an immortal soul in the Old Testament, and in the Gospels. The reward promised to good Christians was that they would be resurrected FROM THE DEAD on Judgment Day and live forever in God’s home. The insertion of Plato’s immortal soul in that simple construct was a square peg in a round hole, which led to many problems and heresies. What was that soul supposed to do while waiting for Judgment Day? Well, the official answer is, “nothing at all”. Except for a very selective club of extra-good souls, which joined God immediately to form the “Communion of Saints” (a core tenet of the Creed; disputing it got you, er, fired). Saints are a purely post-Platonician adjunction. It proved very useful for crowd control, of course.
        To this day, ordinary believers are firmly addicted to the idea of the dear departed’s souls hovering around (“above”) and being open to prayers or dialogue with the living. That is pure heresy. But nobody will tell them – not enough wood for the pyres.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          I pretty much agree with all what you say. Christianity was mostly congealed in the late Fourth Century by the “fathers of the church”, in a giant synthesis. They could only respect (neo-) Platonism. Otherwise, they risked everything. Theodosius emperor, for having annihilated a city that had exterminated general Botheric (?) and some of his soldiers, was quasi (but not quite) excommunicated by Saint Ambrose (of Milan). Theodosius took it well, and begged forgiveness. Yet, another emperor could have taken it differently.

          This is what happened with Charles Martel, who did not hesitate, in the 720s, to nationalize the Church, to pay for the army which succeeded to stop the Islamist State. (Sounds familiar.)

          The Church contemplated excommunicating Charles, but then thought again.

          The separation of Church and state is thus an old mood in the West. When the Vestal Cult was eliminated by Gratian (Circa 380 CE), its budget was assigned to the post office.

          This was all about a calculus of moods, spread over many centuries… And we are still with it. Witness some comments from mystery people accusing me to neglect the importance of Christianity. By 400 CE, for most bishops, it was all about power, influence, a good name, and many slaves.

          When Christianity congealed, it was explicitly decided that the Evangels were allegorical, metaphorical, subject to interpretation. The exact opposite decision was taken about Islamist texts by a Caliph in the mid Ninth Century. That aggravated the non separation of Mosque and State.

  8. Valentina P. Says:

    Valentina P.
    Tennessee
    Obama’s government is wrong about Ukraine. The U.S. provoked Russia, and keeps humiliating and crippling Russia with such hatred. That’s because Russia is the only country in the world that is standing up to U.S. aggression. When will the leaders of Europe have the courage to stand up to the U.S.? Or are they really vassals of America?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Russia is by far the largest country in the world (70% larger than any other country). Putin said

      he wanted more, and recited a list of countries he wants to invade, including Kazakstan.

      This is not about Russia versus the West. After all, the “Rus” came from Kiev.

      This is about stopping a bad and crazy dictator, Putin, who is animated by the obsolete spirit of Ivan the Terrible, against the more
      civilized spirit of the West, to which Ukraine belongs. Europeans, and, in particular the French (who stopped Putin in Georgia in 2008), are not vassals to Washington. They actually depend upon Putin’s gas and oil, so are vassals, as it is, to Putin, not Obama.

  9. Chris Snuggs Says:

    “Might does not make right, but right needs might.”

    Chris Snuggs: If that is your original soundbite then it deserves to survive as long as some of Mark Twain’s.

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